Street Scene, Tokyo
I was intrigued to see some workers reinstalling the stanchions around planting beds. I had to take a photograph of the stanchions, because they struck me as quintessentially Japanese -- an attention to detail which you'd never see in the States. Each of the iron posts was textured on the outside to look like tree bark, and the flat top of each post was incised with a pattern to mimic the rings on a tree! (Sorry the picture is on an angle -- I wanted to be close enough to get the detail and far enough away to get the entire stanchion.)
Japanese people (especially the women) have their own sense of style, which either ahead of the other cultures in the world or completely out of this world. The world's thickest heels were in Japan and now the rage seems to be knee high boots, socks over the knee and mini-skirts. Sometimes it just looks weird -- to my eyes at least! It's also important to note that Japanese women often go for cute (kawaii) rather than sexy. So fur and frilly stuff seem to rule -- at least this year (2009). One thing Japanese style is not: practical. you will often see over the top-dressed women in spiky heels trolling the muddy paths under flowering trees.
...Janet has become fascinated with what we call J-fashion or J-style and we actually bought her some J-style clothes at the GAP in Shibuya. Now she chases people around shrines if they're over the top J-ed out. You should see her collection of shoe photographs!!
In Tokyo Asakusa, between the gate of Kamanari-Mon and Sensoji Temple is Nakamise Street. A pedestrian covered mall with many attractive shops on both sides selling souvenir and Japanese food which is worth checking out because of the variety available.
It makes your visit to Asakusa even more pleasant. I have not heard of pick pocketers but better be safe than sorry as it can become crowded with tourists, foreign and locals.
During rush hours, can see a solitary standing monk with a traditional straw conical hat and a bowl for a yen or two.
In all the prosperity, yes, there are homeless people. You can see them at Ueno train station or other train stations in the evening when card boards are set up between pillars to book a place to sleep overnight.
Gassing up your car in Japan can be very entertaining for Americans used to self-service gas stations. First of all, the stations themselves are very tiny (especially in Tokyo), with the pump handles hanging from the roof to take up as little valuable real estate as possible. But then, a team of service people will come over, fill your car for you, clean your windows, dust your car and smile the whole time. It reminded me of a pit stop in an auto race. But the final kicker for us was when the gas station attendant went into the street and stopped traffic so we could get out! And the traffic ACTUALLY STOPPED! Only in Japan would this happen.
In front of Shibuya station one of Toyko's most peculiar attractions can be found. It is a little statue of the dog hachiko who returned to pick up his lordling every day for years after his master's death. After the dog died, they built a bronze statue to honour the loyality of Hachiko.
The statue is the meeting point and when you are to meet someone in Shibuya, most people will tell you to wait in front of Hachiko. The problem is that there are probably hundreds of other people waiting at this spot with you what makes finding each other a hassle.
Note: When arriving at Shibuya-eki/station make sure to go to the "Hachiko Exit".
Tokyo has to be one of the cleanest and tidiest cities I've ever visited. Look at the picture, this was taken at an underground walkway in Shinjuku (near Isetan). There is no graffiti, no litter, and instead, there were paintings and at some subways, plenty of underground shopping.
It's simply amazing!
On Sunday, you can probably find out where to hang for street performer watching. In Shinjuku Area, Harajuku Area and Yokohama Bay Area. The street will be closed for pedestrians, if the circle surrounded by the pedestrians is bigger and more crowded, that means the performing is better.
Being a fain of architecture, i was amazed throughout my trip at how Japanese don't hesitate to build very big flashy things. One good example is in the picture below. Not to design or modern but you can't miss it ! Makes me hungry for bread just looking at the guy !
You get can almost anything through vending machines in Japan and probably go through a whole day without having to speak to anyone.
And I've never had any problems (such as wrong items, wrong change, unaccepted bills) with them.
One thing I don't understand (in the picture) is why the larger can of Coke the same price as the smaller ones?
In the free entry parks, you'll probably notice the homeless men mostly between the ages of 40 and 60...too young to collect a pension and too old to work for whatever reason.
I have yet to see one begging or acting belligerent. Most seem quite clean, no doubt using the clean public toilets and washrooms.
You can spot their 'home' and belongings covered in a blue tarp.
Virtually all restaurants from the cheap and cheerful to top-end places have displays of plastic food outside.
The quality of this stuff is very impressive - and it certainly aids ordering - rather like the big display boards in fast food places worldwide.
It is a pity the product that arrives never seems to be an exact copy of the original - it was ever thus!
Kappabashi Street is the place where there are shops full of the stuff - ready to sell to restaurant owners. Find it by heading for
Subway Ginza Line, Tawaramachi Station .
If you are a woman in Japan it is common custom to attach your photo to a phone booth of your choice with your phone number. You may notice that some phone booths are more in demand than others. Anyhow, take some tips from these pictured: attractive colors and bold characters are the best way to attract your man.
Shibuya is the most famous area in Tokyo for Love Hotels. In Japanese houses with paper-thin walls there is a lack of privacy. The number of people living with their parents before and even after marriage is very high. The purpose of a Love hotel is to give couples the possibility to spend some undisturbed time together. It is easy to recognize these hotels because they stand out as a refreshingly off-the-wall escape from Japanese conformity. A stay overnight costs about $80. The rent fee for two hours during the day is a little bit lower. On weekends, the prices may be much higher. The reception at a love hotel is very anonymous. The guests pay at a little window where the receptionist behind cannot be seen. Love hotels are a good way to stretch your travelling dollar. Most hotels in Japan charge on a per person basis, but in a love hotel you pay a flat fee for the room; however, you can't usually check in until 10 pm.
When you're in Tokyo take a good look at the food displayed in the restaurant and cafe windows. Most of the hot dishes seem have a gooey or liquidy look to them I didn't think too much of it until I spotted a Mcdonalds advertisement in one of the chains windows. The egg sandwich as well as the burger pictured here also have that same type of look. I guess McDonalds has figured out what appeals to the Japanese fondness for food. Check it out if you go and see what you think.